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Full text of "Verdict On India"

192                                     VERDICT OX INDIA
"The British must realize/ he had said to me before we tackled
the problem of Pakistan, 'that they hare not a friend in the
country. Not a friend/
A Hindu politician would hare said that at the top of his voice,
with delight. Jinnah said it quietly, with regret. Here he was
again. In his hand he caried a book.
JIXXAH You will remember I said, a moment ago, that the
British would have to do a lot of hard thinking. It's a habit they
don't find very congenial; they prefer to be comfortable, to wait
and see, trusting that everything will come right in the end.
However, when they do take the trouble to think, they think as
clearly and creatively as any people in the world. And one of
their best thinkers—at least on the Indian problem—was old John
Bright. Have you ever read any of his speeches ?
SELF Xot since I left school.
JIXXAH Well, take a look at this. I found it by chance the
other day.
He handed me the book. It was a faded old volume, The Speeches
of John Bright, and the date of the page at which it was opened
was June 4th, 1858. This is what the greatest orator in the House
of Commons said on that occasion :
'How long does England propose to govern India ? Nobody can
answer that question. But be it 50 or 100 or 500 years, does any man
with the smallest glimmering of common sense believe that so great a
country, with its 20 different nationalities and its 20 different lan-
guages^ can ever be bound up and consolidated into one compact and
enduring empire confine? I believe such a thing to be ittterly
impossible^
I handed back the book.
JIXXAH What Bright said then is true to-day.. .In fact, it's far
more true—though, of course, the emphasis is not so much on the
20 nationalities as on the 2.. .the Muslim and the Hindu. And
why is it more true ? Why hasn't time brought us together ? Be-
cause the Muslims are awake.. .because they've leamt, through,
bitter experience, the sort of treatment they may expect from the
Hindus in a 'Uniteii India/ A * United India" means a Hindu-